Technical difficulties and time limits stall Burbank's float; La Cañada's float wins humor trophy

"Echoes of Success" was this year's theme of the 2017 Rose Parade, in which entrants had to embody the importance of people coming together and helping others. However, the sentiment rang truer for some of the participants than others.

It is the first time since 2009 that the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn. failed to receive an award for its float, which was titled "Home Tweet Home" this year. A slew of technical difficulties and being unable to finish decorating the float before judging cost the Media City a shot at a trophy.

"We didn't have [one of the cupolas] completely shingled," said Jon Reeves, construction chair for the Burbank float association, referring to one of the steeple-like structures on the entry. "And we didn't have all of the trim around the base of the house ... There's lots of blame to go around. We just ran out of time, and it was not ready."

As Burbank's float made its way down Orange Grove and Colorado boulevards, a group of shingles nearly fell off the roof and two of the three baby birds atop a smaller birdhouse were moving up and down, but the third bird malfunctioned.

Despite the hiccups that Burbank volunteers experienced this year, Reeves said the float still turned out great, and he was thankful for all of those who helped put it together.

It was not all bad news for self-built float entrants, though. The La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assn. walked away with the Bob Hope Humor Trophy for its float titled "Backyard Rocketeer."

The float depicted a boy and his dog flying in a home-built rocket ship made out of items from his backyard. The logos for Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA graced the side and tail fin of the space vessel.

"We went to NASA and JPL and asked them if we could use their logos," said Chuck Terhune, president of the La Cañada organization. "They said it was OK and to get ready for takeoff. We were delighted."

Terhune said more than 400 volunteers helped put together and decorate this year's float. He said he believes that they would not have won without the support of La Cañada residents.

"The spirit of the Rose Parade is about the communities," Terhune said. "They like seeing the local community support."

Also, the overall event had local ties this year as La Cañada resident Brad Ratliff served as president of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Assn., which produces the parade.

Though Glendale did not have an entry in this year's parade, the American Armenian Rose Float Assn. won the Past Presidents Trophy for its float titled "Field of Dreams!"

On the float were the figures of three children — who represented the American-Armenian experience in science, literature and music — riding a stallion, said Stepan Partamian, founder of the American-Armenian association.

Because the organization has entered the Rose Parade only three times, Partamian said he was excited to hear the news about its win.

"It's all thanks to the volunteers' effort and the community at large that helped us," he said. "It's a sentimental reward. We're so happy to receive it because we presented something nice."


Anthony Clark Carpio,

Twitter: @acocarpio

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